The Couch Potato's Guide to Giving Back
You might want to give time to...NamUs Missing Persons Database
On ABC's new procedural drama, Christian Slater spearheads a group of volunteers for the Forgotten Network, an organization dedicated to identifying John and Jane Does. They're a unique group who all have different reasons for joining the network—Slater's character is hoping they will one day discover his missing daughter; one woman is trying to escape the boredom of her day job; a telephone repairman is channeling his inner Andy Sipowicz—but they share a common passion for helping suffering families. While the Forgotten Network is scripted, there are real-life organizations that do this same work. To prepare for the show, the cast met with an organization called Project EDAN. "It stands for Everybody Deserves a Name,” Slater says. “They've been going for the last 30 years, and they'll take the smallest shred of information, whatever detail they have, and go that extra mile to get closure for mothers and fathers who go to sleep every night wondering what happened to their sons and daughters." Project EDAN is made up of forensic artists, but they work with organizations like the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs). Free to the public, NamUs is an online system made up of two databases: one for unidentified decedents and one for missing people. Anyone can log on to start doing the work they see every week on The Forgotten. "You don't really think about it when you see a John or Jane Doe, but these people had lives. They had histories," Slater says. "You come into this world, and the first thing you get is a name. You should have it when you leave."